WhiteWater’s IAAPA Expo Europe 2023 Highlights: New Faces, Projects, & Innovations
Vienna, Austria – It has been a busy year for WhiteWater, the leading designer and manufacturer of aquatic attractions, as the company celebrated the opening of nearly 60 projects in 2023. The company witnessed continued expansion in its regional offices, while simultaneously marking significant milestones with projects spanning various venue categories, including cruise ships, hotels, standalone water parks, and community centers, both in terms of completion and groundbreaking. Here’s a recap of the team’s big announcements made this year in Vienna as part of the IAAPA Expo Europe tradeshow.
New Hires Bring Fresh Energy and Leadership into Regional Offices
WhiteWater has significantly strengthened its local team by enlisting specialists in slide path, architecture, and Performance Services to be based in the EMEA region. This strategic decision underscores the company’s steadfast dedication to provide tailored support in the local time zone and language. Among the notable additions to WhiteWater’s team was Jamie Charlesworth, who received a “welcome home” from the team in Dubai as he returned as Managing Director for the Middle East and India. With a remarkable 20-year career in the leisure and entertainment sector, Charlesworth’s expertise spans across the Middle East with notable companies such as Emaar, Majid Al Futtaim, and SEVEN, one of Saudi Arabia’s leading amusement developers.
Recognizing the exponential growth of Saudi Arabia’s entertainment industry, WhiteWater has also appointed Hussam Nabil as a Senior Project Manager for this market. Nabil, respected for his engineering expertise, contributed to large-scale developments such as Diriyah Gate Development Authority (DGDA) and King Abdullah Financial District.
Meanwhile, at the European regional hub in Munich, WhiteWater introduced fresh talent with the hiring of Diego Reckmann, now serving as Regional Director of Operations. Bringing a wealth of experience in project management, Reckmann leverages his comprehensive understanding of EN standards from his tenure at TÜV Nord. His decade-long journey in the water park manufacturing sector has been instrumental in driving innovation, notably contributing to groundbreaking attractions such as the SlideWheel.
“We have been growing our regional teams over the course of three years, and the addition of top-notch talent like Jamie Charlesworth, Hussam Nabil, and Diego Reckmann reflects our unwavering commitment to deliver excellence in the entertainment industry,” said Geoff Chutter, CEO of WhiteWater. “Their expertise and dedication will undoubtedly propel us to new heights in the EMEA region and beyond. With their leadership, we are well-positioned to continue setting industry standards and providing unmatched experiences for our clients.”
The Year of Indoor Water Parks
Long recognized as tricky spaces with tight space constraints, indoor water parks present a unique set of challenges that WhiteWater has proven to be best placed to solve, with meticulous planning to ensure that visitors can enjoy a varied mix of compact rides year-round. 2023 looked to be the year of indoor as WhiteWater had several key indoor installations open across the global aquatics industry.
Winning a 2023 European Star Award for its Master Blaster + Constrictor Fusion, the team was excited to expand Aqualand Moravia’s offerings for young children, building an AquaForms 300, AquaSplash toys, and Life Floor® in Czechia. The aquatic play structure balances both style and substance, providing more available play space while minimizing its footprint. Constructed with corrosive-resistant materials to lead the industry in longevity, the park’s AquaForms 300 includes nine foot and hand activators to create not only a more engaging play experience with true cause and effect interactives but help the park use less water as features are not always running.
Over in the United States, Island Waterpark at Showboat set records with its 100,000 square feet of indoor space. The $100 million investment is the world’s largest indoor beachfront water park—and the largest indoor water park in North America under a single OpenAire retractable roof. Among its attractions are 11 water slides, two AquaForms aquatic play structures, and a FlowRider® Double.
Prominent resort, casino, and entertainment complex Studio City also opened its indoor expansion this year with all its water slides and water play structures proudly provided by WhiteWater. Working closely with Melco Resorts & Entertainment, the WhiteWater team designed the attractions to integrate seamlessly with the building interior, using bold metallic colours to match the Art Deco look and feel of the themes and architecture. Beyond pleasing to the eye, guests here can enjoy an excellent mix of high-thrill and family ride experiences “teleporting” visitors to the world of space travel.
“We take pride in our ability to transform challenging indoor spaces into aquatic wonders that captivate the imagination and provide lasting memories for families. From Czechia to the United States and beyond, our designs redefine what’s possible in indoor water park design enabling operators to make the most of their space,” said Onno Meeter, President of Water Parks at WhiteWater.
Continued Growth Across the Resort & Cruise Ship Sectors
WhiteWater has also been actively working with hotels and resorts to boost their profitability by elevating both revenue per available room and the average daily rate through the addition of aquatic amenities. This trend is exemplified by the openings of various properties in the EMEA region in November and December of 2022, including the luxurious Cheval Blanc Randheli in the Maldives, Waldorf Astoria Lusail, Doha in Qatar, and JA Beach Hotel in the United Arab Emirates.
Furthermore, the partnership between WhiteWater and MSC Cruises continues to flourish in 2023, reinforcing the commitment of cruise ships to include aquatics in their guest offerings. Notable highlights include the maiden voyage of MSC Seascape in December 2022 and the recent christening of MSC Euribia in June 2023. These ships showcase WhiteWater’s expertise with custom theming, where the company’s skilled manufacturing team crafts hand-carved sculptures to transform aquatic play structures into captivating artworks, evoking vibrant coral reefs and pirate ships.
In pursuit of ongoing innovation, WhiteWater looked at how to bring the rollercoaster experience of a theme park into the water park. The result was the Infinity Master Blaster, which uses a vehicle conveyor to allow for a more energy-efficient way of bringing riders to greater heights. This takes inspiration from dry amusement rides as it uses a closed-circuit slide path that unloads and loads at the same spot, giving flexibility to water parks to offer the attraction with a lower tower height.
Continuing to expand the family of Master Blasters, the team looked at how to offer the fan favourite uphill blasts to younger demographics. This led to the creation of the new Mini Blaster water slide. Using the same uphill blasts as its larger relative, the Mini Blaster uses a highly compact footprint to give kids an introduction to zero-gravity sensations with low to no tower required.
As part of the research into expanding the line of water coasters, WhiteWater noticed a rising emphasis on kid’s areas in aquatic design. A prime example of this approach can be seen in the success of Island Waterpark at Showboat, where the addition of Elevated AquaForms has created a dual-level play experience. This innovative design allows guests to choose between playing on the structure’s upper deck or down below on the splash pad, fostering a family-friendly environment where everyone can enjoy water fun together in a single designated area.
On the surf side of the business, FlowRider, Inc. announced an exclusive partnership with fluid dynamics experts, Hydrostadium, which expands their deep flow surf lineup to include lake and river surf waves. By combining our collective know-how, FlowSurf™ can now boast the lowest power consumption and water volume on the market. “Together, we are revolutionizing deep flow waves with next-generation wave technology bringing true surfing, with already announced projects to KSA and the Mediterranean starting in 2024,” said FlowRider President, Marshall Myrman. To learn more and see FlowSurf in action please visit FlowSurf.com.
While 2023 brought many remarkable openings, the team is also looking ahead to 2024, which will see two of WhiteWater’s largest European openings in the past 10 years. Between the first Endless Surf pool in the world opening its doors in the summer of 2024 and the first six-person attractions in Europe opening at Oceana at Liseberg, there’s still plenty to come for WhiteWater in the region.
“These milestones showcase WhiteWater’s innovation power and is a testament to our commitment to redefine aquatic experiences in Europe and beyond,” said Rainer Maelzer, President, WhiteWater ERA GmbH. “I am thrilled about the positive impact these attractions are anticipated to have on the industry.”